Jammu and Kashmir is synonymous with picturesque views and unending scenic beauty still resisting the climatic change enveloping the planet. Years of violence and militancy has however been accompanying the marvelous landscape. However, time is testament to the fact that no one can resist change forever. Things have been looking up for the region ever since the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was declared a Union Territory since the abrogation of Article 370 on 5 Aug 2019. It was decided that with the onset of the modern era, to keep up with the rest of the world, this pristine land requires to be updated as one would speak in terms of software on an electronic device. Keeping this in mind, there have been a series of investments, especially in terms of physical infrastructure. Many have been completed or are on the verge of completion and some more are in the pipeline. These infrastructural projects have had a direct impact on terrorism which has been plaguing Jammu and Kashmir for more than three decades.

            The government and the corporate sector is working overtime to bring J&K at par with other Indian states and UTs and substantial sum has been allocated for infrastructural development such as improved road connectivity, building tunnels, increasing social and economic sector spending respectively. In the last three years J&K has also witnessed considerable increase in Prime Minister Development Package (PMDP) projects. Infrastructural development is not just restricted to surface communication with a sizeable attention being given to the health sector which has always been a major challenge for Jammu and Kashmir, seen especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Two AIIMS like institutions for healthcare are being established in Jammu and Awantipora respectively. Apart from these two institutions, more district, sub-district hospitals, and public health centres will be built to exponentially improve the healthcare infrastructure in the UT. Another field where Jammu and Kashmir was previously lacking is the education sector. This is being tackled by the establishment of an Indian Institute of Management and an Indian Institute of Technology in Jammu; encouraging skill based training of 1,00,000 youth for self employment under the HIMAYAT Scheme. Kashmir has largely been unexposed to the economic benefits that the rest of the nation is enjoying and as a result there is a mind boggling lack of awareness among the local populace.       

            With the improvement in infrastructure there will be a corresponding improvement in the standard of living available to the civil population. The limited healthcare support available in the region will finally make a way for the good and world class health care facilities to the people thereby increasing their life expectancy. Better education standards will enable the young generation to finally choose a better life for themselves. Consequently they will be able to find better options in terms of the professional path that they have to choose and contribute positively to the overall economy of the country. These were a few of the economic indices that a former student of economics like me looks for when trying to measure the development and I must say, things are looking good and stable.

            It would be incorrect to leave out the tourism sector when Jammu and Kashmir is being talked about. With the completion of the Udhampur Srinagar-Baramulla Railway line nearing completion and the Smart city project in Srinagar also in the penultimate phase, tourism is going to see a massive boom like never before. Apart from the already existing industries in Jammu and Kashmir, tourism was the main source of revenue for the locals. Even more tourists from all over the world will flock to see heaven on earth every year and this will only further bolster the economy and uplift the local population.

            The soldier in me cannot help but remember the age old saying that “Busy troops are the happiest troops”. Keeping the local population engaged in various socio economic activities will ensure the onset of happiness in the region like never seen before. With the             G-20 meeting being planned in Srinagar in the month of May, it is a master stroke by the government in showing the world that Jammu and Kashmir is no longer the terror plagued and poverty ridden state as shown to the world but a new Jammu and Kashmir which will live up to the adage of it being the Crown of Indian when seen on a geographical map.

Leave a Reply